Jan 7, 2005 A century ago, population was moving from the farm to the city. Fifty years ago, the shift was to the suburbs. Today, the trend is back to big cities. The Ford Synus concept is aimed at those taking part in this shift.
The architecture of the SYNUS comes from the Ford Fiesta. Smaller than the Ford Focus, Fiesta is a B-segment car. Popular in other markets because of narrow streets and dense traffic, B-cars are almost unknown in the United States. But considering that the majority of the world's population will live in urban areas by 2010, the time may have come for the B-car market in the US market. The Synus concept explores what such a car might look like, along with a fanciful design theme based around ultimate security.
While Synus may be small, it has been designed to stand up to the rough and tumble of life in the big city, and has been given a look that says it can stand up for itself. Taking its inspiration from bank vaults and armored cars, this concept's exterior design immediately communicates that it takes security seriously. When parked and placed in secure mode, protective shutters are deployed over the windshield and side glass. Small windows on the flanks and roof are non-opening and bullet-resistant. The rear hatch has no window at all.
The Synus concept also signals security through its use of a driver-side dial operated combination lock on the B-pillar. The rear hatch is operated via a vault-style four-spoke spinner. Flat glass in a slightly raked windshield furthers the armored-car look of this concept. Bold wheel arches make a design statement as well as accommodate the vehicle's exceptionally wide track.
Chief designer Joe Baker conceived the interior of the concept as a warm, welcoming private sanctuary in contrast to the cold, perhaps cruel, world outside the car. Innovative front seats are identically shaped and padded on both the front and rear faces. Each seatback can slide from back to front, allowing one or both of the front seat occupants to face rearward. This arrangement could turn the Synus into a conversation pit, allowing for personal interaction between front and rear occupants. While the rear seat can accommodate two passengers, it also can fold flat to become a cargo area.
Colors, shapes and materials throughout the inside of the concept also were chosen to emphasize the sense of warmth and welcome. And to make the interior even more accommodating and spacious, the steering wheel folds away under the dash. The instrument panel is similarly user-friendly. A model of ergonomic efficiency, it incorporates easy-to-read gauges and intuitive controls.
Perhaps the Synus concept's most eye-popping feature is a gigantic widescreen liquid crystal display in the tailgate. The largest flat screen LCD ever mounted in a vehicle, it offers a choice of Internet surfing, movie viewing, or watching what's going on outside the vehicle. In motion, the display works with cameras to function as the vehicle's rear window: by looking in the rearview mirror the driver can sees a high-definition image of the rearward view.
The powertrain of the Synus is taken from the Mondeo. The engine is a turbocharged, intercooled 2.0-liter, four-cylinder 134hp Duratorq diesel engine, compatible with bio-mass diesel fuel. This mix features 80 percent traditional petroleum-based diesel mixed with 20 percent bio-mass diesel. Bio-mass diesel is a non-toxic biodegradable diesel fuel made from biological sources, such as agricultural products and even recycled restaurant grease.